Help Musicians sees unprecedented 200% rise in mental health support requests

Facing a growing mental health crisis, musicians turn to Help Musicians' services in record numbers, with a 200% increase reported in two years.

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Help Musicians, a charity dedicated to supporting the UK’s professional musicians has seen a staggering 200% increase in the usage of its mental health services over the last two years. This spike is sounding alarm bells about a deepening mental health crisis in the music industry.

The charity offers Music Minds Matter, a vital 24/7 service providing musicians with free access to counsellors for emotional support and guidance. This surge in demand is partly attributed to financial challenges, further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic that brought touring to a standstill.

Joe Hastings, head of Help Musicians, emphasised the seriousness of a career in music, pointing out the intense work schedules, competitive nature, and frequent travel that musicians endure. He stressed the importance of acknowledging their skills and hard work in their earnings and societal recognition.

Sid Goldsmith, a performer from Bristol, shared how the charity’s support, including funding for therapy sessions, was instrumental in helping him establish positive mental health practices. He also noted the severe impact of the pandemic on independent musicians and venues, underscoring their crucial role in shaping cultural landscapes.

The rise in mental health concerns isn’t just statistics; it’s reflected in the actions of artists like Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender, Shawn Mendes, and Wet Leg, who have all cancelled shows citing mental health reasons. Justin Lockey of Editors, who took a break from touring due to anxiety, described the unique pressures and isolation musicians often face.

For anyone in the music industry struggling with mental health issues, there are several resources available, including MITC (Music Industry Therapist Collective), TONIC Rider for bespoke training and support, Music Support Org for issues like addiction, and CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), among others. These organisations provide confidential support and are dedicated to the well-being of those in the music industry.

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